What parents need to know about musical.ly

musically iconLast week, I updated my parenting guides and invited readers to contact me with questions about apps. The next day, I received an email from a parent about musical.ly. I immediately downloaded and played around with it.

After cruising around musicaly.ly, I am not surprised parents have questions. Musical.ly profiles are public and full of young faces. If your child is asking about musical.ly, here is what you need to know.

What is musical.ly?

musically feedMusical.ly is a popular app for creating 15-second music videos. How it works is kids select snippets of popular songs and record themselves singing, lip-syncing or dancing. Some kids skip the music and perform 15-second comedy skits. Once they finish recording, kids can add effects/filters and share them on musical.ly as well as other popular social networks.

To grow their fan base, teens can share their videos anywhere. Musical.ly encourages users to post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Vine. They can also save their video to their camera roll and post on other online communities. The goal for many users or “musers” is to have a featured video. Featured videos are chosen by musical.ly and appear on the Featured Feed. These chosen videos garner more likes and fans.

On musical.ly, all accounts are public by default. Which means when kids post a video, everyone can see it. Also, anyone can follow them. Most accounts are public. In settings, kids can change their account to private. With a private account, only approved followers can see their creations.

What Parents & Kids Need to Know

Rated T for Teen

Musical.ly is rated T for teen on GooglePlay, “+12” on iTunes and “all ages” on Amazon. Musical.ly says it restricts users to over 13 and teens, between 13 and 18, must have parental permission. When signing up, musical.ly does not ask users to enter a birthdate or age. Anyone can sign up easily with an email. After surfing around musical.ly, I would say most users are under 18. One of the most popular musers is Baby Ariel who is 15 years old.

musically sign up 2

Discuss inappropriate videos

This is not kidz bop. The song choices are popular dance songs and some have swearing and questionable lyrics. Most kids love these catchy songs without paying too much attention to the words. Watching young kids imitate the style and dance moves of their favorite singers, especially on a public account, can be a bit unsettling.  Parents should talk to their child about song choices and what is and is not appropriate in a video.

As far as adult content, musical.ly does a decent job of keeping it hidden. Musical.ly does not allow explicit content or nudity but it also does not pre-screen videos. With unscreened user-generated content, an adult video probably lurks somewhere, which is true for most apps. Musically keeps kids from easily finding it with a search filter. For example, try searching “sex” in musical.ly and nothing comes up. If kids do happen to stumble across an inappropriate video, they can click on the profile and press the button with three dots to report it.

musically filters

Create a Private Account

Accounts are public by default. This means anyone can see his or her videos and anyone can follow them. Kids can choose to make their accounts private. To set up a private account, they should go to their profile and click on the gear in the right hand corner and choose settings. From here, they can scroll down and choose “private account”. With a private account, kids must approve every follower and only their followers can see their music videos. Like Twitter and Instagram, kids cannot choose to make some videos public and some private. It is all or nothing.

musically private

Even with a private account, their profile is still public. Other musers, can search for their account and see their profile photo, username and short bio. People can also see their fans, followers and likes. What they cannot see is their music videos unless they are an approved follower. Teens should keep their personal information and private usernames off their musical.ly public profile.

musically private acct

Report Mean Comments

Musers can comment on each other’s videos. Unlike deviantART, most musers do not critique each other’s creations. In fact, most comments are encouraging. Musical.ly promotes positive comments by asking musers to “say something nice.”

musically comments
I did see a few mean comments criticizing a performer’s appearance. If they do receive an unwelcome comment, kids can block the person and report the comment. To block, they need to go to the person’s profile and in the upper right corner click on the 3 dots. Here they can choose to  “block this user” and “report abuse.” If reporting and blocking does not work, kids can take a screenshot and send it to info@musical.ly. Musical.ly states it takes bullying very seriously and any rude behavior to another muser will result in the removal of the account.music profile

Cannot delete an account

Once a child opens an account, they cannot delete it. Right now, musical.ly does not allow any users to delete their account. On their website, they promise this feature is coming soon.

In the meantime, if you do have a child under 13 on musical.ly, parents can contact musical.ly directly. According to their terms of service, parents can report their child’s account to musical.ly by sending an email to privacy@musical.ly. If the child is under 13, they will promptly take steps to delete personal information and terminate the child’s account.

Finally, parents should download musical.ly and check it out. Most teens are making interesting, creative videos. Before letting your budding singer or dancer download musical.ly, parents should talk about what is appropriate, how to set up a private account and what to do if they have an obnoxious fan.

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17 thoughts on “What parents need to know about musical.ly

    • that’s what scares the life out of my. my daughters are 7 and 9 and want it. I’m worried that someone not nice could harm them. So, as of today, they are not allowed to use it.

      • Do not allow it it’s full of Pornography it’s full of very young girls having sex duets I’ve reported over 200 accounts and Musical.ly won’t remove it

      • I think you need to go look closer at Musical.ly this is not the place for under 18s forget musical lyrics thousands of kids are being exposed to adult material

  1. I got to this website bc I was tying to see is there was a way to block my kids from explicit lyrics. The information provided says Musical.ly does not allow explicit content. I just watched a post that my daughter, who is 9, put out for her ‘private’ world to see. She was dancing to a rap song that was talking about pu$$y and being a motherf@$&?!.

    • Musical.ly states it does not allow “explicit content or nudity” and content refers to graphic content not lyrics. Musical.ly does not prohibit explicit lyrics nor does it have a way to block inappropriate songs. Given how many parents have commented about their young kids loving this app, I think that is a great idea. Parents can send any ideas or suggestions for improving Musical.ly to their email info@musical.ly

      • If you have kids interests at heart please review your blog it is full of sexual videos actual sex acts. I’ve reported to ITunes Musical.ly and Android/GooglePlay/Amazon and I am awaiting further emails.

    • The lyrics are bad but the videos are worse Adults and Teens nudity and worse please stop use until Musocal.ly admits the App has no filters and protects our children

  2. On my tablet when i do a musical.ly everything seems fine. Whereas, on my phone it will not let me do one because ‘it doesn’t like my device! Please help!

  3. Just logged into my daughters music.ly account and she had “fans” that were soliciting sex, masturbating, profile pic of a girl giving a blow job, and a daddy trying to recruits young girls. I’ve never been so heartbroken. I love seeing my daughters videos but I don’t want her anywhere near this. Parents should not let their kids get this app 😢

    • With a private account, you must approve all your followers and only approved followers can see your videos. Remember, even approved followers can take a screenshot or record a video and share it more widely. Teens should always be careful about what they share online. For more information on private accounts, check out musical.ly support page – https://musically.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

    • Most social networks restrict users to over 13. In the US, if a company knowingly collects personal information from children they must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). (This post explains the restriction in more detail https://kidsprivacy.net/2011/06/21/13-terms-service/) If a parent sets up the account and uses their personal information, the account should not violate the terms of service. COPPA only covers information collected online from children. It does not cover information collected from adults that may pertain to children. COPPA is not triggered by an adult uploading photos of children on a general audience site.

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